Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans


EVIDENCE number 35,


UNEDITED COPY Tuesday May 3rd 2005 *   *   *

Á  (1102)  


    The Chair (Mr. Tom Wappel (Scarborough Southwest, Lib.)): I am calling this meeting to order.

    There are two items of business, committee members.

    We just want to welcome our witnesses, but before formally introducing them we're going to deal with the first item of business first which pertains to a letter that we've received from the deputy minister. What I'd like to do is give members of the committee an opportunity to read that letter. It's one page long. I'll give you two minutes to read it and then I want to make a suggestion as to how we proceed. This is in connection with the request for the Melvin report.

    Mr. Matthews, we're just reviewing the letter from the deputy minister. It's in front of you.

    What came with the letter, committee members, is this material. I've reviewed the material and I'm in agreement with the deputy minister that there are sensitivities in this material which, in my view, would require us at least initially to review it in camera and then have discussions in camera as to what, if anything, we want to do and how. Because we're not given authorization to travel by the Liaison Committee, we have next week open for our meetings. I am suggesting that we schedule next Tuesday's meeting in camera to deal with this particular report that has been sent to us, and we'll discuss it at that time, take a look at it and then make whatever decisions we decide to make at that time.

    I will have a specific procedure that I'm going to invoke in terms of giving out the documentation, but I'll discuss that with you on Tuesday.

    If there is time at the end of that meeting on Tuesday, and there may not be—it looks voluminous but it's in both official languages—and if there isn't, then on Thursday, since we have two meetings. I'd like to see if we can sort of come to some resolution on whether or not we want to issue a further report and/or recommendations with respect to the aquatic invasive species and also what, if anything, further we want to do in respect of Mr. Robb's testimony regarding the Rouge River and the draining of the aquifer in and around the Toronto area.

    With your permission, that's what we'll do on Tuesday and Thursday of next week.

    Mr. Cummins.

    Mr. John Cummins (Delta—Richmond East, CPC): I have just a couple of points, Chair.

    One is it would be appropriate if some arrangements were made so that ourselves or our staff could view that documentation before the meeting on Tuesday so we have some idea of what it is we're going to be dealing with.

    The Chair: No.

    Mr. John Cummins: Why not?

    The Chair: I don't believe that it should be given out except in this committee room.

    Mr. John Cummins: What I was suggesting was is there not a secure area where it could be viewed, where you could visit--

    The Chair: Right here on Tuesday, and we'll take as much time as we need to read it. We can read it line by line. There is no problem. That doesn't mean we're going to deal with it Tuesday, and it doesn't mean that we're going to be finished with it Tuesday. That's when we're going to start with it.

    Mr. John Cummins: All right.

    The second point, Chair, there were other reports that were mentioned during these Williams hearings that may be of use, and they were promised and not received. One was a statistical analysis of the size of the illegal sockeye harvest in 2004, which the department apparently undertook. It would be helpful if the committee had those documents as well.

    The Chair: Mr. Cummins, I wonder if you'd bring that up on Tuesday while we have our mind focused on the issue.

    Mr. John Cummins: Well, you may just want to make that request in advance. If it's available, then it would be helpful.

    The second one, chairman, there was a catch monitoring report by Colin Mason that was referenced as well--

    The Chair: Referenced by whom? Williams?

    Mr. John Cummins: In the hearings, the Williams hearings and DFO at that point indicated to the chair of the hearing that report would be made available and it wasn't and again, it may something that may be of interest to us.

    The third one was a report, again, mentioned in the Williams hearings and this one was mentioned at the time by Mr. Melvin. He said he was going to be producing one report and there was a fisheries officer by the name of Nicole Gallant who was going to be producing another report. Again, I think those three reports would add considerably to the committee's knowledge base and I think we should request those reports, chair.

    The Chair: To be fair to the committee and to me I think, the last time you were here and you made a request, you only requested the Melvin report.

    Mr. John Cummins: That's correct, yes. I understand that, chair and it's just looking through that data again and when I sort of refreshed the memory about those reports being asked for at Williams, I brought it here at the earliest convenience and I thought it may be appropriate for us to ask for them.

    The Chair: I'll ask Mr. Latimer to contact your office for the exact details, so he knows exactly what to ask for. They may not be, given that today's Tuesday, they may not be available for us by Tuesday, but we'll certainly have enough work in reviewing the report itself.

Á  (1110)  

    Mr. John Cummins: I think it'd be reasonable.

    The Chair: Good, thank you.

    So that takes care of item number 1.